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Best Overall: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag at Amazon
"You can't go wrong with this classic messenger bag from an iconic brand."
Best Budget: Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag at Amazon
"This highly reviewed bag comes in at a supremely wallet-friendly price point."
Best for Laptops: Kate Spade Tech Oxford Field Messenger at Kate Spade
"Dress up your laptop in this elegant, work-appropriate carrying case."
Best Leather: Coach Metropolitan Portfolio at Amazon
"Coach's leather bag has a worn waxed finish that will evolve with a patina that makes it all your own."
Best Eco-Friendly: Everlane The Micro Form Bag at Everlane
"Ethical brand Everlane makes the ultimate lightweight mini bag to hold your essentials."
Best for Organization: Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag at Amazon
"Features organizer slots for credit cards and pockets for travel documents."
Best for Commuting: Samsonite Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag at Amazon
"Can do double duty as a briefcase and an organizer under the front flap keeps essentials accesible."
Best for Bikers: Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag at Amazon
"Perfect for biking, this bag has compression straps to secure cargo and reflective details for visibility."
Best for the Gym: Lululemon All Night Festival Bag at Amazon
"Lululemon’s bag is water repellant and easy to wipe clean, so it’s a great choice for the gym."
Best Style: Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag at Dagne Dover
"Has a luggage handle sleeve, making this stylish messenger bag great for travel as well as everyday use."
No matter how you get around—and where you’re going—you’re probably looking for streamlined, organized, and attractive ways to tote your gear. A messenger bag can be an ideal solution, crossing the body and leaving the hands free to swipe a subway ticket, carry a coffee, or clutch a boarding pass while striding through an airport terminal. We searched the marketplace for the best messenger bags for traveling, commuting, toting just the essentials, and keeping your laptop and tech tools safe and organized. Our picks include options that prioritize style and functionality, and at a range of price points from budget to splurge worthy.
Whatever your cargo needs, these are the best messenger bags available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
Timbuk2 is the iconic messenger bag maker—and this is its classic bag. Designed in San Francisco more than three decades ago, this bag has a shoulder strap with a curved mesh pad for added comfort. Double-loop buckles easily adjust to banish dangling straps, and there’s an easy-to-grab handle. Inside, there’s a waterproof liner, and corner wings keep water out. An internal water bottle pocket keeps it secure, and multiple pockets maximize organization potential and balance out the weight. This messenger bag is available in multiple sizes, from extra small to large.
Best Budget: Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag
This highly reviewed bag comes in at a supremely wallet-friendly price point and has a range of attractive features. The 100 percent cotton canvas bag weighs just over a pound and easily fits laptops up to 15 inches. It has a flap with velcro closure and roomy pockets—including a spacious main compartment, front pockets, and side pockets large enough to accommodate water bottles. An interior zippered pouch holds essentials. There's a hand-carrying handle in the back, and a padded, adjustable shoulder strap.
Best for Laptops: Kate Spade Tech Oxford Field Messenger
This durable bag dresses up your laptop in an elegant, work-appropriate carrying case. The material is inspired by traditional suit fabrics, so it has a professional, elevated look. Water resistant and streamlined, this bag has an internal neoprene sleeve for your laptop and holds all the other workday essentials too. Leather details on the strap and bottom add to its sophisticated aesthetic.
Best Leather: Coach Metropolitan Portfolio
Coach's leather bag is streamlined, stylish, and totally versatile—so it’s bound to become your new go-to. It has a few interior pockets and an adjustable (and removable) strap, and a sleek carrying handle so you can use this as a portfolio bag, too. The bag has a pebbled finish that will evolve with a patina that makes it all your own; Coach also offers monogramming to further personalize your look.
Best Eco-Friendly: Everlane The Micro Form Bag
Everlane, which partners with ethical factories around the world, makes the ultimate lightweight mini bag to hold only the essentials in style. Handcrafted from Italian leather, the bag has a button-snap closure, an adjustable strap, and a structured and elegant look. For its compact profile, it can still hold a phone, keys, wallet, and lip gloss for touchups on the go.
Best for Organization: Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag
With over 3,000 five-star reivews, this fan-favorite bag is beloved for its form and function. Billed as a secure bag to keep your valuables close and prevent theft, Tumi's messenger bag features slash-proof construction and an adjustable, cut-proof shoulder strap. Its large main compartment has organizational pockets as well as a locking zipper. The organizer includes slots for credit cards and pockets for travel documents or other essentials. There’s also a zippered expansion pocket perfect for a water bottle.
Best for Commuting: Samsonite Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag
This flap-over leather bag from Samsonite is a total classic for commuting to and from work. It has a timelessly professional look and can do double duty as a briefcase. An organizer under the front flap keeps essentials at the ready and there’s a dedicated pocket for an iPad or tablet. A large compartment at the rear provides substantial room for files and a removable compartment stores a mobile phone. This bag fits laptops up to 15 inches.
Best for Bikers: Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag
This Chrome Industries medium-sized messenger bag is made to be on the move. Compression straps secure cargo and have reflective details for visibility while biking. There's also a weatherproof tarp liner with a nylon shell for riding in the elements. It features a quick-release seatbelt buckle with a bottle opener, and a floating bucket liner has separate compartments for wet and dry. You don't have to worry about using this while riding because the bag is guaranteed for life.
Best for the Gym: Lululemon All Night Festival Bag
Lululemon’s bag is water repellant and easy to wipe clean, so it’s a great choice for a gym bag. But it’s also sleek and versatile to carry your stuff every day. An interior pocket stores your gym pass, and there’s a secure front pocket as well. Wide openings make it easy to find headphones or other bulky objects. Wear the removable strap over your shoulder or as a crossbody.
Best Style: Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag
Dagne Dover is known for its stylish, versatile bags that deliver major functionality, too. The Ryan neoprene bag has a laptop sleeve with an elastic closure, as well as air mesh and zipper pockets on the inside, zipper pockets on the outside, and a hidden spot in the back for your mobile phone or other accessories. There’s also a key leash so you won't have to go digging. And there’s a luggage handle sleeve, making this messenger bag great for travel as well as everyday use. Choose between six beautiful colors.
Most Versatile: Lands' End Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag
This bag is ultra versatile—and durable—so you can pretty much expect to wear it forever. The bag’s exterior is made of waxed cotton canvas that resists water and stands up well to wear. Inside, water-repellent cotton lines three slit pockets and one zippered pocket so you can organize any gear with ease. There's also a padded laptop sleeve with a hook-and-loop closure for secure transport.
Best Splurge: Rag & Bone Small Field Messenger Crossbody
If you want to invest in a bag that will endure—and garner major compliments—Rag & Bone’s small messenger crossbody is a splurge-worthy pick. The compact bag has a leather shoulder strap, flap closure with magnetic snap, and two-way top zip pocket along with a decorative zipper pull with chic dangling fringe. It has antique brass hardware and a slip pocket on the outside for a cool overall look.
Our top pick is Timbuk2's Classic Messenger Bag, which features a water-resistant construction, an internal water bottle pocket, and multiple pockets that distribute the bag's weight evenly. We also love that it's available in multiple sizes and price points to accommodate different needs.